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My favorite practice for cultivating hope

I know, you’ve seen the news. I’m sure things in your life aren’t perfect, either. What do we do when we continue to face tragic stories? It can become quite heavy. Yesterday I was listening to a talk by Parker Palmer and he said, “Violence is what happens when we don’t know what to do with our suffering.” Gosh is that profound. It resonates with the saying “hurt people hurt people.” When we don't know what to do with the pain we're carrying it can manifest in some really hurtful ways.

This is not so much a call to heal ourselves, which is clearly necessary. Healing ourselves changes the way we see ourselves, which in turn changes how we show up in the world. It changes everything. Our relationship with our partners, children, coworkers, and what we do with our time in the world.

This is a post about sitting before God to be transformed. Healing may be part of it, but it’s an act of sitting with God in silence. I’ve written about this topic before, but I’m writing about it again, because when hope is lacking in my life, I return to centering prayer. Here is a previous post I did that describes the action steps of centering prayer. I say “action steps,” yet centering prayer is more about being than doing. And if this practice sparks your interest, you can find more information at this website.

I believe centering prayer is necessary for our world. Just like “hurt people hurt people”…I think transformed people can transform people. God uses us. Wounded yet not broken. Scarred yet not defective. God uses US...the imperfect and "still figuring it out" can be used to work in the lives of others. Its through sitting before God we are healed and transformed, but it’s also through the right kind of relating to one another that we can experience the love and mercy of God.

Just this morning I contemplated this passage by Thomas Keating:

The contemplative journey is the most responsible of all responses to God because so much depends on it- the future of humanity, the healing of the wounds of humanity, our own deepest healing. It’s not just a method of meditation or a practice to find personal peace. It’s basically a total acceptance of the human condition in all its ramifications, including its desperate woundedness…humans are fully capable of becoming God, not in the fullest sense of the term, but in a very real way, where the light, life, and love of God are pouring through them, channeling a source of healing, compassion, and reconciliation wherever they go and whatever they do. They are rooted in the divine compassion and mercy, and are manifesting…the pure light of the image and likeness of God within them, which is the assimilation of the mind and heart of Christ in everyday life.

How powerful. We have an opportunity to reflect light, life and love to others. We can be a glimmer of hope to others. But first, we need to figure out how to hold love and hope for ourselves and our own situations. And so, we return to sitting before God, soaking in God’s warm guidance and healing. Happy rooting, everyone!

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